FLOSSMOOR | No one expected much out of Ali Farkos and the Homewood-Flossmoor girls soccer team in 2012, and you better believe the Vikings used that to fuel their play.
Farkos' fuel burns a bit hotter than most high school soccer player too, and that trait made her the driving force behind a strong Homewood-Flossmoor team that went just as far in 2012 as the season before. And like the season before when a Viking was named the Times Player of the Year, Ali Farkos is the 2012 Times Player of the Year.
It is the sixth year in a row that a Homewood-Flossmoor player has taken home the honor.
"I think the biggest motivation we had was that everyone was doubting us," Farkos said. "We lost some key people last year. Everyone was saying we weren't going to make it as far as we did last year because we lost such key players. That really gave us the motivation to step up and do our thing."
When the Vikings lost 2011 Times Player of the Year Kelly Lewers and defensive standout Emily Johnson, many thought the Vikings would have a respectable but not overwhelming season. Yet with Farkos in the middle the team grew throughout the year until it was playing its best soccer at just the right time: playoff time.
The Vikings easily won the Class 3A Thornton Fractional Regional, then won their own Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional in impressive fashion with wins against two tough teams, Andrew and Sandburg. Farkos played outstanding in both matches.
"I think that we made a great run this season," Farkos said. "We got to the same place we did last year, which is almost rare for a team to get that far two years in a row."
The Vikings ran into a tough Downers Grove South team at the Benedictine University Supersectional, but the team played beyond what many had thought it was capable of.
"Ali's overall understanding of the game is beyond the high school level," Homewood-Flossmoor coach Charlie Ward said. "She sees the field much like an experienced coach would see the field."
Farkos will continue her soccer career at Illinois State. The senior had been an all-state selection for three years in a row, and her biggest concern is being able to adjust to the speed and intensity of the college game.
"I'm really just excited for the new level of play," Farkos said. "I'm just a little scared of the intensity. I don't know exactly what the level is going to be or how hard it is going to be, and obviously I'm just preparing for the hardest level ever."